Now that you've been to Disney World and want to capture the magic of your experiences there, come explore the creative art of "Scrapbooking". After reading the essential foundations for this adventure, join the Happy Cropping message board to ask more questions, share ideas, and make the memories last.
So, you've decided to take up a new hobby and, more importantly, decided to be
the creative historian in your family. There are tons of scrapbooking supplies
to be found, but the choices can be overwhelming. Where do you begin?
First, it's important to know a few terms before you set off on your shopping
trip. Many products in the scrapbooking section of your craft/hobby/scrapbook store
have certain labels on them. Following is a brief explanation of what some of
Acid is the substance in many papers that will eventually turn them to dust. It
is the destructive acidic action on the fibers that makes the paper structure
itself weaken and eventually causes it to crumble. If an album you purchase is
not labeled acid-free, you cannot be sure that it is. Acid will accelerate the
aging process of your photos.
Acid and alkaline are rated from 0 to 14. A substance with a pH of 0 is very
acidic; one with a pH of 14 is very alkaline. A pH of 7 (the center of the
scale) may be considered acid-neutral. A paper with a pH value greater than 7
is generally considered "acid-free". Paper that is labeled acid-free may be
produced with raw materials that naturally do not contain acid or are
manufactured with special precautions taken to eliminate any active acid that
might be present in the paper pulp.
Lignin is a natural substance found in tree pulp that causes paper to turn brown
(much like newsprint will turn yellow and then brown over time.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Polyvinyl Chloride is a common plastic, but it should not be used in a photo
album. PVC contains platicizers (or softening agents) that can migrate out of
the vinyl with age and discolor or fade photographs.
Safe plastic that can be used for long-term storage includes polyester,
polypropylene, polyethylene and polystyrene. These plastics are chemically
stable. Polypropylene is considered the best plastic for use with photographs.
Six Dangers to Photographs:
- Acid and other chemicals
- Temperature (heat and extreme temperature fluctuations
- Corrosive particles
- Human carelessness
Inks, Adhesives and Accessories
Make sure that the pens you use in your albums are permanent, waterproof and are
made with a single pigment. Do not use a standard ball point pen since, over
time, the ink will fade over time to the point of illegibility.
Use adhesive that are specifically labeled photo-safe. Do not use rubber cement
to mount your photos because it dries out behind the photos, causing the
pictures to fall out of the book. Also, it is made with a sulfur compound which
will cause your photos to yellow and fade.
Never use cellophane ("Scotch") tape or masking tape on your photos. The
adhesive used with these tapes is too corrosive, is not reversible, and will
leave a residue of adhesive on whatever it is in contact with. Also, cellophane
tape turns a yellow or brown color in a very short time.
Once anything of unknown chemical composition is introduced in an album, there
is some risk of contaminating its photo-safe quality. Be aware of that fact and
decide for yourself how "pure" or photo-safe your albums should be. You might
want to consider doing two separate types of albums: a Today Album and a
A Tomorrow Album is maintained and stored with future generations in mind.
Record all photo identification information (names, dates, places shown on the
photos), use photo safe pens and do not include stickers, memorabilia or
anything else that may contain acid. Limit its exposure to light and humidity,
store in a cool, dry, dark place and only take it out for special occasions.
A Today Album is an "everyday" album. It is paged through and enjoyed on a
regular and constant basis. Disney albums would most likely fall into this
category. This is where fun, imaginative decorative ideas can be tried -- a
place for lots of colorful embellishments and pizzazz. Of course, use common
sense when creating these albums as well and keep photo-safe guidelines in mind.
Also, all albums should be stored upright in rooms with low humidity and
constant temperatures and handled as carefully as possible.
Your first purchase should be an album. Following is a list of some of the
different types of albums available and the pros and cons of each.
Spiral Bound Albums
Spiral bound albums are fairly inexpensive. Many on the market are photo safe,
but be sure to check the packaging to be sure. The down side of these albums is
that there are a finite number of pages. You cannot add pages or resequence
them. Also, you must carefully plan the layout of your scrapbook before you get
started. Another limitation is that with repeated page turning, the holes that
the binding runs through get bigger and bigger until they tear all the way
Post Bound Albums
If these are made with photo safe paper, they can be safe for your photos, but
these present some of the the same limitations as the spiral bound version. The
holes that the post goes through are subject to the same wear and tear and pages
may eventually fall out of your album. The positive side of these is that the
pages can be resequenced and you can also add pages.
Pocket Page Albums
These are similar to the Post Bound but they differ in that the paper is slipped
into a plastic sleeve and then bound into the album by the posts (the screws
that hold the album pages and cover together. These are only as durable as the
plastic page protectors that are bound into the album.
Flex Hinge/Staple-Strap Albums
This is the type offered by Creative Memories. They are the most expensive but
probably the safest and most durable. The pages have a heavy-duty staple sealed
into the edge of each page. This staple then fits over a durable plastic strap
which is threaded through a plastic guide and then "strapped" to the album
cover. Page protectors slip over the page easily. These pages can be
resequenced, however, you will be working on both sides of the page so you must
do a bit of planning ahead of time. If this poses a limitation for you,
Creative Memories also offers what is called a Portrait Sleeve. They are the
same size as a scrapbook page and have the same binding, but they are simply a
giant pocket within which you slip a completed page.
Lets Go Shopping.
You are now armed with some guidelines and terminology. It's time to make a
list and go shopping.
For your first trip to the scrapbook/craft store, here is a recommended shopping
- An Album
- A sharp pair of scissors
- Photo-safe adhesive
- A plastic template for tracing and cutting our various shapes (circles &
- A photo safe pen for journaling on your scrapbook pages
- Page protectors
....and a few fun things....
- Colored or decorative printed photo-safe paper
- Photo-safe stickers
- A pair or two of decorative edge scissors
Don't buy everything you see on your first trip (unless money is no object :)
Over time you will develop your own style and determine your further supply
needs. It's best to start simple and work from there.
Visit "Happy Cropping: Scrapbook Inspirations" for day-to-day tips and creative